Sunday, November 15, 2009

How do you know if it’s good or not?

Y Y-1

I spend anywhere between six months to a year working on a album. If you include the fact that I’m continuously jotting down song ideas, some of which take years to grow into album-worthy material, an album takes a lifetime to make. And it is a solitary affair. Well, I do work with a partner, but it’s just the two of us.

I sometimes play snippets of the work in progress to friends/colleagues. But I have to take most peoples’ comments with a pinch of salt. The vast majority will tell you they love it, because that’s what they think you want to hear (and quite frankly I do!). I do have a couple of friends who’s judgement I value, and I always call on them to listen. They usually give constructive criticism, sometimes it’s like turning on a light switch. A little tweak & the album springs to life. Sometimes it’s like being punched in the stomach and having the wind knocked out of you.

But ultimately, the final decision rests with the creators of the content. There comes a time when we have to decide that the album is done. This moment (usually right after it has been mastered) brings with it mixed emotions. Relief, excitement, anticipation. And nervous fear. What if it sucks? What if we can’t see the forest for the trees (or the song for the notes)?

My only solace is that I’m pretty sure most creatives experience this insecurity on completion of a project. There is no "department of creative standards” to put your work through a series of stringent tests, and supply you with a detailed analysis.

So we release the CD and wait…